SAT policy unfair to the underprivileged

By Maya Montayne
Opinions Editor

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SAT scores have constantly been dramatized as one of the most important components of a college application. For decades the four-hour long test has had the power to completely eclipse four years of high school work, but many colleges, such as Smith College and Wakeforest, are beginning to drop the SAT requirement and disregard the aptitude test as nothing more than a measure of the wealth of a student and the leniency that the College Board grants the test takers instead of as a reliable estimation of the student’s natural intelligence and possible success in college. <BR>
Many students rejoiced when receiving an email from the College Board website informing them of a new SAT policy called SAT Score Choice. The new policy allows the student to take the SAT as many times as they please without having to inform the colleges of their choice of the number of times they have taken the test. At first glance, the policy seems harmless enough and extremely helpful to today’s high school student who would love the freedom to take the test as many times as necessary without the fear of damaging their chances of admission. Unfortunately, the policy has opened a flood gate of opportunity for wealthier student while shutting out others.<BR>
The new policy seems to have forgotten a major issue in today’s society—the economic recession. In order to take the SAT, students must pay $45. In the privileged area that most CHS students live in, the fee may seem miniscule, but students must adopt a more realistic view of the world outside of the Potomac community. <BR>
According to a May 5 Washington Post article, due to the economic downturn, the unemployment rate increased to 4.5 percent over the course of last month. To those families who are struggling even to feed their children, paying the SAT entrance fee multiple times is far from possible.  <BR>
Through this new policy, wealthier students will, without a doubt, have the upper hand in college admissions. More privileged students have always been able to afford to take the SAT more times than other students, granting them more chances to improve their scores, but these students have always been wary of taking the test more than three times in fear of its effect on their admission’s application. SAT Score Choice has removed the only consequence stopping the wealthy from taking full advantage of their financial status.
The College Board’s creation of SAT Score Choice has already raised suspicion among students. The College Board claims that they created the policy in reaction to students asking for more control over their test score, but students beg to differ. <BR>
According to an April 10 Washington Post article, some suspect that the College Board established the new policy for their own personal gain. The more times students take the SAT, the more money the College Board makes. <BR>
The SAT was once a well- respected indicator of a student’s academic potential, but the test has slowly transformed into a game of manipulation of the admissions system. The true intelligence of the student is no longer relevant; the only concerns are who can get the most expensive tutor and who can afford to take  it enough times to get the desired score. In order to ensure fairness in the admissions process, the weight of the SAT in the application process must be lightened. Money is influential in many aspects of life, but the SAT should not be one of them. <BR>